Craig Stapleton was practicing a stunt with skydiving partner Katie Nelson when his parachute fouled, causing him to free fall to the ground – miraculously, he survived.

Stapleton, 51, is no rookie skydiver, having mastered 7,000 skydiving jumps. However, when he and Nelson were practicing a flag release stunt, the speed of their deployment flipped him through the risers of his parachute. Spinning uncontrollably, Stapleton attempted to deploy his reserve shoot, which only got tangled in the disabled chute.

As he free fell towards Acampo Vineyard, he noticed that he would be landing near a row of grapes and iron grape stakes. “One of my last thoughts before I hit was, ‘I really hope I don’t hit an iron spike, because it’ll just be messy,’” Stapleton told FOX40.

Meanwhile, Nelson looked on as she descended safely through the sky. “I was pretty sure I was about to watch my friend die,” she said. When she landed and sprinted over to Stapleton she noticed that his head was sticking up. Upon closer inspection, she realized that he was both breathing and conscious.

“I hurt quite a bit and in my mind, I thought, ‘That’s a really good sign,’” Stapleton said. “‘That’s a good thing.’ And then I tried to get up.”

Stapleton was taken to Lodi Memorial Hospital where it was determined that he had no broken bones or internal bleeding, and therefore would not be requiring any surgery. The only injuries he suffered were a dislocated shoulder and some painful bumps and bruises.

Stapleton, with no plans to stop skydiving, declared, “I think next weekend I’ll be back in the air.”

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